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Act Correctly in the event of an Oil Spill

In the event of an oil leak or a significant oil accident, quick action is required—because there is a risk of damage to the environment and accidents for employees. In our FAQ, "What to do in the event of an oil spill," we answer what you can and must do so that you are well prepared and an oil leak does not become an oil disaster. We will go over different details, from selecting the right oil binding agent to limiting oil damage to oil disposal.

Correctly assess oil spills


The danger of an oil leak lies in the large-scale distribution of oil on surfaces and its insolubility in water. This is why bodies of water are particularly at risk because oil quickly spreads over large areas on wet surfaces. The oil forms a layer on the water's surface, which can soon lead to an oil slick because Just one drop of oil contaminates up to 1,000 litres of water. In everyday operations in a factory hall or on the factory premises, there is also an increased risk of slipping for people and vehicles on inclines and curves. For this reason, traces of oil must permanently be removed entirely until the floor is "dull." ### What could be the consequences of an oil spill? For moral reasons alone, every company should do everything possible to avoid environmental disasters. But there are also clear regulations regarding what is expected of companies in an emergency. These are set out in the Water Resources Act (WHG), the Environmental Damage Act (USchadG) and the Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health (BetrSichV). Failure to comply with these regulations can result in severe penalties. As the cause of, for example, oil pollution on bodies of water, the company must bear the costs of the corresponding remediation measures per Sections 89 and 90 of the WHG. If the required safety standards are not met during the provision, an insurance policy taken out can also be omitted.

Deal with oil leaks professionally

What preventive measures need to be taken for oil spills?

Preparation is everything! To be able to act quickly and effectively in the event of an oil leak or an oil accident, a risk assessment must be carried out. It must be clarified where oil can escape during operation—for example, hydraulic fat in industrial trucks, systems and machines, or operating and auxiliary materials. In addition, it must be recorded how much oil can escape.

The next step in prevention is leakage management. Wherever there are potential danger points for an oil leak in the company, sufficient oil binding agents or an oil set for oil should be provided. In the case of oil spills on or near bodies of water, leakage management and rapid action are required to avert an environmental impact. In our specialist article "Fighting oil spills on water," you can find out everything about emergency response to oil spills on water.

Further information on accident prevention and safety in the company can be found here.

What is an oil spill?

Oil brigades are special extinguishing trains of the official and company fire brigades. They specialize in using leaked mineral oil products. The missions often concern the removal of oil spills in traffic accidents. The spread of oil and a possible oil spill on bodies of water are combated.

If a works fire brigade is responsible for your company, they will specialize in the operations you can expect, e.g. oil leaks. Oil pollution on the water is usually notifiable (§24 AwSV) and is a case for the oil rescue service.

What to do in an oil spill?

First, it is necessary to check the amount of leaked oil. In the event of a significant oil spill, the authorities must be informed immediately. In the event of an oil leak, the floor must also be checked to see whether it is sealed or permeable to water. If the subsoil is permeable to water, such as a factory site with paving stones, the surface must be removed, and the depth of the oil penetrated the ground must be measured. The contaminated soil must be removed, bagged, and properly disposed of. You can clean up minor leaks, such as spilled oil on sealed floors.

Absorb, bind and dispose of the oil

What binds oil?

The more viscous a liquid is, the more complex and longer it takes to absorb into a binder. However, in the event of an oil leak or a significant oil accident, this hazardous substance must be contained as quickly as possible. For this reason, DENIOS has developed a DENSORB® binder, especially for oil. Thanks to Advanced Capillarity Technology, DENSORB® nonwoven absorbent pads can absorb fat up to 16 times their weight faster than conventional absorbent pads. It is also characterized by the fact that it only absorbs oil, but not a drop of water.

The DENSORB® range offers a large selection of oil binders for every application and every format that can be delivered immediately. Oil-binding fleeces are available as mats cut to size as required and as rolls for larger quantities. Some snakes contain oil spills, cushions with an exceptionally high absorption capacity and granules in different grain sizes. Oil barriers and booms, oil curtains, oil skimmers and oil cubes from DENSORB® are used to contain and remove oil films on water.


When purchasing oil binders, it should be noted that the binder has selective permeability to oil and other hydrocarbons. The specially developed DENSORB® oil binding agents are water-repellent and ideal for absorbing oils, petrol, and hydrocarbon compounds. They only absorb the oil, but not a drop of water. The greater the absorption capacity of the oil-absorbent cloth, the more influential the oil damage limitation. DENSORB® oil binders absorb oil up to 16 times their weight visibly faster than conventional binders. This results in significantly lower material and disposal costs.

Use the practical DENSORB® product finder to find the right oil-binding agent for your application.

How do you dispose of oil?

In Germany, most oils are classified as hazardous waste, with special requirements for interim storage and disposal. This also applies to oil waste, such as a contaminated binding agent. In the DENIOS online guide "Storing and disposing of hazardous waste properly," you will find out what needs to be considered in detail.


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